I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His Kingdom: preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 2 Timothy 4:1-2
On October 15, 56-year-old Wilf Lloyd was hunting elk with his son-in-law, Skeet Podrasky.
What the pair didn't know is that a 400-pound male grizzly bear was hunting them. When the bear attacked, it directed its attentions to Lloyd. Seeing his father-in-law being mauled by the bear, Podrasky had only an instant to decide on and implement a plan of action. In less time than it takes to tell, Podrasky went over a checklist of options. All of these options, with the exception of one, seemed to end up with his father-in-law becoming breakfast for the bear.
Podrasky made his choice, leveled his rifle, and fired. Unfortunately, rather than hitting the bear, he ended up shooting his father-in-law. He took another shot and, you guessed it, hit his father-in-law again. Finally, Podrasky's aim proved effective, and he killed the bear.
Lloyd, the twice-shot, bear-mauled, father-in-law, was flown to Calgary where he is doing well.
Over the years I have seen other people, Christian people, who have found themselves placed in Podrasky's shoes. No, they haven't had to face a giant grizzly bear who was attacking a loved one, but that doesn't mean their spiritual situation wasn't just as dangerous. Consider
* the parent whose college-aged child tells them they don't want mom and dad lecturing them on religion, or
* the parent who becomes furious every time a child starts to talk to them about their lost condition, or
* the family and friends who have been forced to watch someone they care about ignore God as they pursue a life of drugs and alcohol.
These people, like Podrasky, recognize there are only so many choices available to them. Like him, they know if they do nothing it is quite likely their loved one will be lost. That's why, like him, they decide they must do something, say something, try something.
Now I would love to tell you that every time a Christian speaks to a loved one on behalf of the Savior that person responds in a positive way. I would love to tell you that, but I can't. There are many times when a witnessing Christian, like Podrasky, feels his best efforts have done more harm than good.
That's when they say, "Maybe I should just lower my verbal guns and stay silent. I don't want to make the situation worse." Well, my friends, there may indeed be times when silence can be a virtue, but there aren't many such times.
No, when eternity for a loved one is on the line, we need to preach the Word. With complete patience we need to reprove, rebuke and exhort. Being bold in pointing people to the Savior is what St. Paul did 2,000 years ago.
It's what we need to do today.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant me the right words to speak clearly, boldly and lovingly about Jesus to those who need to hear the story of salvation. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries